Peach Pico

This isn’t a precise recipe. It can easily be scaled up for a larger amount. This yielded me about two cups which was more than enough for our dinner tonight.

Taste as you go and adjust to suit your preference. If you have a good peach, your pico should be plenty sweet.

You can easily substitute in other fruits like mango or pineapple!

Combine gently in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 large tomato

1 ripe peach chopped

1/4 chopped medium red onion

1/8 c chopped cilantro

1/2 small jalapeño chopped (seeded if you don’t want it too spicy)

1/4 habenero chopped (ditto)

Zest of half of a lime

Juice of a lime

S&P

Sugar/honey/agave as needed if it isn’t sweet enough

Use as dip or on top of some tacos 🐷

Kitchen Dump Thin Crust Pizza

Again, not a precise recipe. I just used what I had in my fridge and freezer. It’s an easily adaptable recipe. Just follow the pizza dough recipe and the crust-cooking-procedure. Easy peasy.

 

I had a ball of my simple pizza dough in the freezer. I had enough to roll out a thin crust. I played it a little fast and loose with the oven so my edges are kinda cajun lol. Be more careful than me. I was hungry.

 

Simple pizza dough

Seasoned ricotta cheese (herbs, garlic, parm, s&p)

Shredded cheese

Parm

Fresh mozzarella

Olive oil with italian herbs and garlic powder (for crust)

Whatever toppings you want (mine are as pictured)

 

Prepare the pizza dough ahead of time so you are ready to go.

Quickest way of attacking this is preheating your cast iron skillet, cast iron griddle, pizza stone, heavy bottomed pan. Whatever. Get it super hot. 475+ hot.

While that is preheating, slice and chop your toppings. You want thin slices, small dices. We want things to heat through evenly.

Prepare all of your cheeses.

Roll out your dough to suit your vehicle

Carefully place your dough in the pan or skillet or stone

Poke fork holes all over save for the ‘crust area’

Brush the ‘crust area’ with some of the seasoned up olive oil

Bake for a few minutes, just consider the thickness of your dough and its edges.

Remove and quickly paint dough with the ricotta.

Shredded cheeses

Spinach.

Parm.

Zucchini and squash slices

Fresh mozzarella dotted around

Sliced onions and peppers

Chicken

Chopped tomatoes

Whatever toppings you’re using

Baked at 475+ until the cheese is bubbling

Broil until there’s a little color on your cheese, mind your crust

Remove

Drizzle with remaining olive oil

Top with chopped herbs, crushed pepper

 

 

As always, use what you got. Any questions you know you can comment or hit me on IG (@nibblesandnom).

 

NOM!

 

 

 

Balsamic Gorgonzola String Beans

Hey y’all. This isn’t a precise recipe, but just a quick write up of this yummy side dish. Scale to suit your family’s needs.

 

1 bag of trimmed string beans

Chopped garlic

Butter

Olive oil

Cup of slice almonds

1/8-1/4 c balsamic vinegar

Sugar or honey (optional)

Gorgonzola cheese

 

(If you can multi-task, multi-task. Otherwise, do the reduction first)

In a sauce pan, bring the balsamic vinegar and like a little under a regular spoonful of sugar or honey) to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Add chopped garlic.

Stirring frequently.

Keep an eye on this, you want it to coat the back of a spoon. If it goes too far it will taste pretty gross.

Remove from heat.

Melt a pad of butter into this and fin.

 

In a large tupperware, add the string beans and just a few spoonfuls of water. Microwave with the lid ajar for 3-4 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil and then melt butter.

Soften chopped garlic then remove.

Increase heat to medium high.

Add drained string beans ands season with salt and pepper.

Sautee until some start to brown up.

Remove from heat.

Add chopped garlic and some sliced almonds.

Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Top with more sliced almonds and gorgonzola cheese.

 

Mango con Chile y Limon Cake

This idea came to me randomly a few weeks ago. I grew up in NY and it was a regular occurrence to see the street vendors selling baggies of mango or mangoes on a stick topped with chili powder. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out exactly how I wanted to incorporate these flavors.

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There was a lot of trial and error. As usual, the goal is to flavor and color using natural, preferably fresh, ingredients. There were A LOT of mangoes (I think I used 7 or 8–all scraps and leftovers went into the freezer for smoothies).

The sponge is a basic vanilla sponge infused with fresh mango puree, lime and lemon zest, fresh cayenne (no stems or seeds) and cayenne pepper (more control over the spice level).

The first layer is buttercream and macerated fresh mango slices. The top layer is a lime-mango curd. It’s mostly sweet and creamy but there’s a tartness to it due to  lime juice.

The outside buttercream is flavored with a little smoked paprika, chili powder and a little cayenne plus lime juice and zest.

I taught myself to make mango roses, which serve as the decoration along with some whipped cream.


Ingredients:

Sponge:

2 ½ C flour

1 ½ C sugar

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1/2 c milk

1/2 c butter, room temperature

4 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ C mango puree

Spices (to taste): cayenne pepper, 2-5 cayenne peppers seeded and deveined, lemon zest, lime zest

Mango-Lime Curd:

1 large ripe mango

½ cup fresh lime juice

Squeeze of lemon juice

½- 1 tbsp of lime zest

½ tsp kosher salt

¾ cup sugar, divided (1/2:1/4)

3 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 stick of butter, cubed or thinly sliced

Lime Simple Syrup:

3/4  cup of water

¼ cup of lime juice

1 cup of sugar

Vanilla Buttercream:

2 sticks softened butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Roughly 5 cups of powdered sugar

Spiced Buttercream (optional/to taste):

Vanilla Buttercream

Smoked paprika

Chili powder

Cayenne pepper

Lime zest

Reserve:

2 mango cheeks, thinly sliced


Curd:

  1. Slice fresh mango
    1. In a small bowl add sugar or simple syrup
    2. Toss to coat, let restUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_17d
  2. In a food processor, puree mango and transfer to a sauce pan
  3. Add lime zest and juice, salt and ½ c sugar
  4. Simmer while stirring until sugar dissolves
  5. Option 1: in a bowl, whisk eggs and remaining sugar until the yellow lightens
  6. Carefully and slowly stream in about half of the hot mango mixture into the eggs
    1. This is called tempering, do not rush this or you will cook the eggsUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_186
  7. Strain
  8. Pour the egg and mango mixture back into the sauce pan and whisk constantly until it thickens
    • Do not let this boil
  9. Option 2: Combine ingredients and whisk constantly over a double boiler until it thickensUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_180UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_193
  10. Once thickened, remove from heat and add the butter a few pieces at a time and stir until fully incorporated before adding the next few
  11. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the top of the curd so it doesn’t develop a weird skin
    1. Chill for 2-24 hours

Simple Syrup:

  1. In a sauce pan, combine the ingredients
  2. Simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved
  3. Refrigerate and store in a container

Sponge: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and parchment 2 9”round cake pans or 3 8” round cake pans
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and gelatin using the paddle attachment
  4. Add the softened butter
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Add the milk
  7. Add the egg whites, beat to combine
  8. Scrape down bowl
  9. Add mango puree
  10. Slowly incorporate the spices and the zestPhoto taken with Focos
    • I recommend starting with a teaspoon of zest and working up
    • I recommend starting with a dash of cayenne
    • Optional: seed and devein cayenne peppers and finely dice, start with a small amount and work your way up
    • My proportions were zest > cayenne pepper>cayenne peppersDivide cake between cake pans
  11. Bake until they pass the toothpick test
  12. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pansUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_18c
  13. Carefully poke some holes into the cake (not all the way through)
  14. Carefully spoon some of the syrup over the sponges and allow to rest so they can fully sop up the goodness

Vanilla Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium until the butter looks white and fluffy
  2. Add vanilla
  3. On low speed, slowly and carefully add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time
  4. Slowly increase the speed and whip until well incorporated
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all of your sugar is used

Spiced Buttercream (Optional):

  1. Split ½-3/4 of the vanilla buttercream
  2. Starting with a small amount, slowly add the spices and TASTE adjusting for your preference
    1. My proportions were zest>chili powder> smoked paprika> cayenne
    2. This was a sweet and flavorful buttercream that left a curious and slightly spicy finish

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_198UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_184

Assembly:

Bottom layer: Sponge

Next layer: Buttercream and the macerated mangoes (shake off excess liquid)

Next layer: Sponge

Next layer: Buttercream perimeter filled with curd

Next layer: Sponge

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Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_17eUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_194Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_196Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with Focos

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Jerk Chicken Plantain Patties

Ingredients:

 

Plantain Dough

Flour

 

2 chicken breasts

Seasoning (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, smoked paprika)

 

½ head of a small green cabbage

1 small red onion

1 small sweet onion

1 serrano pepper

1 red jalapeno pepper

 

1-2 tbsp Grace Jerk Seasoning

Low-sodium Chicken Broth

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

Squeeze lime juice

1 tbsp butter

 

½ cup black beans

1 egg for egg wash

(Yields about 20 medium sized patties)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 420
  2. Butterfly and season chicken breasts (or boneless skinless thighs)
  3. Heat cast iron (or heavy bottom) skillet on medium-medium high, sear chicken on both sides, cook mostly through
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Deglaze pan with ½ cup chicken broth

plantain12

  1. Dice onions, slice cabbage, chop peppers, chop cilantro
  2. Set 2 tbsp of red onion to the side
  3. Sautee remaining peppers and onions until softened, season lightly with s&pplantain8
  4. Remove a tbsp of cooked onions and peppers and put in a small bowl
  5. Add cabbage to peppers and onions, add reserved red onion and toss together

 

  1. In the small bowl, mash beans together with the onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juiceplantain11

 

  1. Set chicken to the side

 

  1. Bring the deglazed pan to a boil, add jerk seasoning, squeeze of lime juice, butter and brown sugar

 

  1. Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary (I added additional clove to pump up the jerk)

 

  1. Chop chicken and add to the jerk sauce, sprinkle a little corn starch and stir, sauce should thicken

plantain13

  1. Toss with cabbage mixture and set aside to cool

 

plantain9plantain10plantain14plantain15plantain16plantain17plantain25

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment
  2. Flour surface and roll out plantain dough to about 1/8-1/4”
  3. Using a round container (I used the small soup container from Chinese take out)
  4. Place discs on parchment
  5. Assemble:
    1. Flour surface
    1. Gently elongate disc using rolling pin/tool
    1. Black bean mixture, shredded cheese, chicken and cabbage
    1. Fold shut and press to secure
    1. Gently crimp using a fork
    1. Place complete patties on second lined baking sheetplantain21plantain23plantain24plantain26plantain27
  6. Brush finished patties with egg washplantain28plantain29plantain30plantain31
  7. You can freeze on baking sheet then store in a freezer bag
    • Bake from frozen at 400 on lined baking sheet
  8. If serving right away, bake at 420 until golden brown, edges will be crispy
  9. Store in the fridge in an airtight containerplantain32plantain33plantain34plantain35plantain36

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Plantain Dough

plantain2

 

3 ripened plantains

1 green plantain

¾- 1 c flour, extra for dusting

1 egg

2 tsp vegetable oil

Salt

Pepper

 

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Chop plantains into thirds or quarters, skin intactplantainplantain18
  3. Boil for 20-30 or fork tender
  4. Remove and allow to cool enough to handleplantain4plantain5
  5. In a food processor, puree everything together except for the flour
  6. A ball should begin to form, add flour a quarter at a time until fully incorporated, no chunksplantain7plantain6
  7. Dough should not be too sticky
  8. Plop onto floured surface, dust dough and knead incorporating flour until the dough doesn’t stick to the surfaceplantain19plantain20
  9. This dough can be used for empanadas/patties or get creative with layers for a lasagna, taco shells, pot pie crust, pizza crust, etc. you name it.
  10. To freeze: Press into disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap before storing in freezer bag. Allow to thaw completely before using.

plantain21plantain22plantain23plantain28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Strawberry-Raspberry Poptart Cupcakes

I make my son special cupcakes for his birthday each year. When I asked him what he wanted this year he told me he wanted a Poptart cupcakes and I kind of just stared at him. Frankly it just sounded like a lot of work and there was no guarantee that I could pull it off because who the hell has heard of Poptart cupcakes. At first I was going to blow him off and just “you get what you get what” him.

 

But I started playing with the idea.

 

I went to the Google to see if I was on the right track. I was surprised to find that all of the other recipes I saw were….not like this. So I sat down and worked it out and this is what I came up with. I fully intend on doing these again. There are just so many flavor-filling options!

 

We prefer strawberry Poptarts. I decided to pump up the berry by adding raspberry to the mixture. I matched the tangy raspberry with the tart lemon juice. The jam is bright and tart, so it cuts through the sweetness of the other components. The jam would be amazing on a croissant *drool*.

It may look like a lot of work but just break it up into steps. Some things you can make ahead. This is my suggested order:

  1. Cupcake
  2. Jam
  3. Icing
  4. Decorate

 

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes

For Jam:

1 pint of raspberries

1 cup of roughly chopped strawberries

1/4-1/2  sugar

1/8 c water

1/8 c lemon juice

Tsp lemon zest

 

For Icing:

2 egg whites, room temperature

4+ c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 ½ c melted white sugar morsels

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp water, if needed

 

Decorations:

Pieces of poptart

Strawberry jello

Sugar crystals*

 

  1. Prepare the vanilla cupcakes

For the jam:

  1. Combine the liquids and the sugar
  2. Stir until sugar melts
  3. Add berries
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
  5. Simmer covered until the berries start to break down (you can smush to help it along)
  6. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the liquid begins to evaporate and the mixture thickens (this is called reducing).
  7. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  8. You want a pretty thick, scoop-able consistency but honestly, you just don’t want it watery. Otherwise your sponge will just sop it up and then your filling won’t be much of a filling.
  9. Set aside to cool. (This is an easily adjustable recipe, this was more than enough for 12 cupcakes and breakfast toast the next day.)

For the icing:

  1. While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler
  2. Set aside to cool
  3. In your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the whites until they’re fluffy
  4. Add vanilla extract
  5. Slowly incorporate some of the powdered sugar
  6. Mix in the white chocolate
  7. Continue adding the sugar
    1. Here is where I hiccupped, my icing was way drippier than I wanted. Add as much sugar as you need to achieve a thick-spread that won’t drip down a bunch.
  8. Prepare your decorations
    1. I could not find crystal sprinkles so I made colored sugar*
  9. Poke your finger or a cylindrical tool deep into the cupcakes to form a divot. You don’t want to poke through the cake
  10. Fill the divots with the cooled jam
  11. Spread the thick icing on top
  12. Stick in poptart pieces
  13. Sprinkle with sprinkles or sugar and strawberry jello

 

Happy 8th Birthday, kid.

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Simple Vanilla Cupcake

This is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe. Because it’s such a perfect vehicle, I use this as the base for 90% of my cupcakes.

I don’t generally like a super sweet sponge because usually I am loading it up with buttercream, chocolate or fillings. So I often opt to use less sugar. If you enjoy a sweeter cupcake then I suggest 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Some recipes call for milk or cream, however, I substitute sour cream. This yields a moister cake. That’s a 1:1 ratio. So if you prefer to use milk or cream or if that’s all you have, just remember it’s a direct conversion

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Simple Vanilla

 

 

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1⅓ cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup light sour cream

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Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using your paddle attachment and your stand mixer, cream (beat together) the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add eggs one at a time. Make sure the first is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Turn the mixer down to slow.

Add half of the dry ingredients

Add sour cream

Add remaining dry ingredients

Be careful not to overmix the batter but be sure that everything is well incorporated.

Divide the batter into the tins. This is enough for 12 decent size cupcakes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, toothpick check and cool on a wire rack.

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